Greetings from sunny Portugal, plus Sam Ladner on managing research knowledge & other things worth your attention.
Hello! I'm Jorge Arango and this is INFORMA(C)TION: a biweekly dose of ideas at the intersection of information, cognition, and design. If you like this email, please forward it to a friend. And if you're not subscribed, sign up here. Thanks for reading!
A short note this week since I’m wrapping up a week of travel (!) to an in-person conference (!!) — my first since the pandemic started. The conference in question: UX Lisbon.
Organizer Bruno Figueiredo and his team pulled off an excellent experience for speakers and attendees. Everything was well-planned and professionally produced, and Lisbon and its people are amazing.
My role at the conference was to deliver a day-long workshop and a (separate) presentation.
The workshop is called Information Architecture for Design Leaders. I’ve taught some of this material before but restructured it completely, adding more hands-on exercises. Based on what participants told me, they got a lot of value from this workshop.
The talk was all-new: it gave conference-goers a peek at some of what I’m writing about in Duly Noted. The gist: we can use new hypertext note-taking apps to think better. (Karl Fast and I covered some of this material in our workshop at the IA Conference earlier this year.)
I’m excited about both of these threads. IA can help our organizations make better choices and help us think better as individuals. I plan to continue exploring both and sharing what I learn with you. (I'm also offering bespoke versions of the IA for Design Leaders workshop to in-house teams; please get in touch if you'd like to learn more.)
One thing I’ve learned this week: international travel during COVID times is a hassle. We must wear masks at airports and during flights, get tested before traveling, avoid crowds, etc. Still, it was fantastic to once again meet with people “in real life.” I missed it.
I look forward to reengaging with colleagues as more opportunities arise. Perhaps I’ll see you at a conference soon?
From my blog
Book Notes: "Figure It Out" My notes on my friends Stephen P. Anderson and Karl Fast's book about how mindful design can increase understanding.
Systems thinking and design "Poor design meets one need while creating a dozen others. Good design resolves problems without negatively affecting anything else in its ecosystem." Tanner Christensen on why systems thinking separates "genuinely great" designers from "pretty-great" ones.
Markdoc Markdown-based documentation system from Stripe. (H/t John Gruber)
On the cult of productivity Podcast: Cal Newport interviews Tim Ferriss to revisit the latter's book The 4-Hour Workweek on its 15th anniversary.
The Informed Life with Sam Ladner
Episode 88 of The Informed Life podcast features a conversation with sociologist and UX researcher Sam Ladner. Sam describes herself as a “student of productivity and the nature of work.” She’s been a researcher at Amazon and Microsoft and is currently Senior Principal Researcher at Workday, and is the author of two books on research.
In this conversation, Sam and I discuss sociology and ethnography in the context of organizations and how to manage the knowledge generated by research. People have been writing good things about this episode; you should check it out.
Good strategy is design, and design is about fitting various pieces together so they work as a coherent whole.
— Richard Rumelt, Good Strategy Bad Strategy
Correction: In the last issue of the newsletter, I misattributed the closing quote to Albert Einstein. I should've known better; Einstein is a frequent target of misattributions. Here's more on the source of the quote. (H/t to James Callan for pointing out my error.)